I've written about this topic before, but it's been some time.

Somewhere along my eight years of W&W I discovered acupuncture for fatigue relief. By last fall, with my numbers way up, my lack of energy was so profound that I gave up the treatments. Now, with the deep fatigue that lingers after completing a course of Gazyva, I decided to try it again. Miraculous! I have twice-weekly treatments by a practitioner who used to work with cancer patients in a hospital setting here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota--perhaps the best state for health care in the country, so our people are held to a high standard. This woman really knows what she's doing. And the fatigue relief the first two days after treatment is tremendous. May begin three times weekly. (And yes, thank all the gods at once, my insurance covers it.)

18 Replies

  • I have an occasional (every couple of months?) problem with severe hand cramps, in which my hand is almost paralyzed into a claw for 20 or 30 minutes. That SOUNDS like something that acupuncture could help, and I'm a skeptical guy. I am actually in China 6 months each year, and should be able to find someone who knows what they're doing!

  • Good heavens yes! Western docs can be so...doctrinaire. As can Eastern medics, for that matter. I think they're complementary. Both work--for some things.

  • I get occasional cramps in my fingers, toes, and legs.

  • Are you taking Ibrutinib?

  • No, watch and wait.

  • Ducksoup, could you share her information? I live in the Twin Cities and would love to know where to go for this treatment.


  • Wow! There seem to be a lot of us CLLers in the Twin Cities. Who knew? My provider is Selby Acupuncture in the Cathedral Hill area. They might be able to recommend a provider closer to your location. I don't know if they do that. There's a clinic within HCMC that offers acupuncture, if that's closer to you. But Selby is rated consistently five-star. Let me know how it goes.

  • Thank you, I will follow up.

  • Duck soup-sounds amazing! I'm in W&W with labs and nodes all ok. BUT weakness and very poor endurance. Perhaps I'll look into acupuncture.

    Thanks for the insight!


  • Let me know if you find someone. I could use it for my migraines also!

  • Will do!

  • I am in the Minneapolis area. Can you please provide contact info for your Acupuncture provider? Thanks.

  • Peachboy1, so sorry I missed your message until today. My provider is Selby Acupuncture in the Cathedral Hill area. They might be able to recommend a provider closer to your location. I don't know if they do that. There's a clinic within HCMC that offers acupuncture, if that's closer to you. But Selby is rated consistently five-star. Let me know how it goes.

  • Thanks so much for the information. I will give it a try.

  • Are you having acupuncture or TENS stimulation - there's a difference. I've been interested to read that controlled clinical trials of acupuncture, which importantly, have shown no benefit other than that due to the placebo effect, have gone to great lengths to fake needle insertion, so trial patients are convinced a needle has been inserted when it hasn't.

    Also, anyone with CLL, particularly if they are neutropenic, would be very wise to avoid any puncturing of their skin, due to the increased risk of infection.

    Controlled clinical trials of actual acupuncture (uncontrolled trials should only be considered preliminary and are never definitive) typically have three arms: a control group with no intervention or standard treatment, a sham-acupuncture group (needles are placed but in the “wrong” locations or not deep enough), and a real acupuncture group. Most of such trials, for any intervention including pain, nausea, addiction, and others, show no difference between the sham-acupuncture group and the true acupuncture group. They typically do show improved outcome in both acupuncture groups over the no-intervention group, but this is typical of all clinical trials and is clearly due to placebo-type effects.


    Taken as a whole, the pattern of the acupuncture literature follows one with which scientists are very familiar: the more tightly controlled the study the smaller the effect, and the best-controlled trials are negative. This pattern is highly predictive of a null-effect – that there is no actual effect from acupuncture.'


  • I've been having acupuncture. Actually the clients at highly rated clinic where I get my services are often referred by MDs for pain management, side effects from chemotherapy and even fertility treatment. As I think I noted in my post, my practitioner worked as a hospital employee where she regularly treated cancer patients among many others--and indeed had a fair number of docs turning up for various complaints. I had my very first acupuncture treatments in a clinic at Hennepin County Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the state. And med school students at the University of Minnesota actually have training in complementary medicine that introduces them to acupuncture as well as other treatments. I will say that I can't speak for CLL patients who are highly prone to infections. I have been fortunate in that regard. However, legitimate practitioners here in the US take pains to use antibacterial swabbing and new, sterile needles that come right out of their packages during treatment.

    I do think the US might be bending toward greater incorporation of complementary medicine than other nations. And if the benefits are primarily placebo effect, my attitude is I'll take the placebo effect if it gives me energy to get my work done and live my life with greater energy.

  • A few days ago I posted about getting acupuncture treatment for my CLL- and treatment-related fatigue. I want to make it absolutely clear that I only advocate acupuncture low energy and other side effects. No responsible practitioner would imply that acupuncture could make any difference in blood chemistry. And AussieNeil brought up potential infections. If you have been prone to infections during the course of your disease you might want to consider the pros and (potential) cons very carefully. And by all means, choose a highly qualified acupuncture practitioner and clinic.

  • yes I also get benefit. Also my herbalist just gave me rhodiola for fatigue. Licorice root is good for adrenal exhaustion. Acupuncture is good while on chemo since doctors don`t want you to mix herbs with it.

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